Vaccines for Children:

Refocusing the Program's Goal and Implementation

T-PEMD-95-23: Published: Jun 15, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program, focusing on: (1) whether vaccine cost has prevented children from being routinely immunized; (2) VFC implementation; and (3) options for improving children's immunization rates. GAO noted that: (1) vaccine cost has not been a major barrier to children's timely immunization, since children often have access to free vaccinations; (2) barriers to children's immunization include inadequate clinic resources, clinic policies deterring vaccination, and providers that miss opportunities to vaccinate children at regular visits; (3) VFC was intended to be implemented by October 1, 1994, but six of seven critical implementation tasks remained incomplete as of March 30, 1995; (4) there are no current plans to evaluate VFC; (5) the only completed implementation task is contracting to purchase vaccines, but problems have already emerged; and (6) immunization rates could be improved by coordinating immunization services with large public programs and creating registries to reduce missed immunization opportunities.

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